sonic screwdriver n.

in the British television series Doctor Who: a (hand-held) electronic device which uses sound waves to perform various mechanical and technical functions


Doctor Who

  • 1968 in V. Pemberton Doctor Who: Fury from Deep (transcript of TV programme) 16 Mar.

    ‘Will it not budge?’ ‘No… Oh well—have to use this… It’s a sonic screwdriver. Never fails. There we are—neat, isn’t it? All done by sound waves.’

  • 1974 T. Dicks Doctor Who & the Auton Invasion vi. 63 Terrance Dicks bibliography

    He went through the pockets of his old clothes. ‘Sonic screwdriver, TARDIS detector…Yes, it all seems to be there.’ Quickly the Doctor transferred his possessions into his new pockets.

  • 1989 ‘G. Naylor’ Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers xviii. 155 Doug Naylor bibliography

    He took a sonic screwdriver from his top pocket, flipped a series of release catches on his neck, removed his head and plonked it down unceremoniously on to the table.

  • 2005 S. Moffat Doctor Dances in Doctor Who: Shooting Scripts (TV script) x. 364 Steven Moffat

    Jack Who has a sonic screwdriver? The Doctor I do!

  • 2010 U. McCormack King’s Dragon (Doctor Who) (2011) 81 page image Una McCormack bibliography

    The Doctor picked up the ring. He held it up to the light…and then he tested it with the sonic screwdriver. ‘Definitely the same material.’

  • 2013 D. Bradley in SFX (#241) Dec. 7 page image

    You learn about travel and respecting other cultures while the Doctor shows you the wonders of the universe and you’re meant to discover, while still in school, that wit and a sonic screwdriver are better tools than guns.

Research requirements

antedating 1968

Last modified 2023-07-19 17:56:59
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.